Senate probes alleged fraud in $62.909 billion capital flight
The Senate has begun investigation into alleged fraud in some $62.909 billion capital flight between 2009 and 2014.Accordingly, the searchlight is being beamed on alleged misdeeds in collaboration between a few banks and some International Oil Companies (IOCs), which, the upper chamber believed had seriously defrauded the country.
The investigation which has to do with “the pre-shipment inspection of export activities in Nigeria” is being conducted jointly by the Senate committees on Finance, Trade and Investment, Gas, Petroleum Upstream, Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, as well as the committee on Customs and Excise.
The joint committee has asked affected banks to submit all copies of certified Nigeria Export Proceed (NXP) issued/or processed by them in respect of all crude oil and gas exported by Nigeria Agip Company Ltd, Chevron Nigerian Limited, Shell Petroleum Dev. Co. Nig. Ltd and their affiliates between April 1996 to December, 2016.
The affected banks were also asked to submit all domiciliary accounts opened and /or closed within the period specified for all crude oil and gas exported.Two banks, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank, have already appeared before the investigative joint committee, while others will also appear.
A member of the committee, Senator Yusuf Yusuf (Taraba State) said of particular interest to the joint committee is how funds brought into the country as oil export proceeds are wholly withdrawn a day after such proceeds were brought into the country.
He said that the probe became necessary because the banks have the obligation within the law to ensure that petroleum product exporters do the right thing by obeying the guidelines and laws of the country.
Yusuf said, “It is worrisome that money comes in today and tomorrow the same amount goes out of the country. The practice runs through statement of accounts submitted by the banks. The oil companies bring in $20 billion today, tomorrow $20 billion is taken out from the account.”
According to him, it is obvious that the country is not getting the correct export proceeds from oil and gas exports.He noted that the committee is interested in knowing why the same oil company that exports products is the same company that pays for it without an indication of who actually buys the products and the corresponding bank.
Chairman of the joint committee, Senator John Enoh, said that the committee is also interested in ensuring that banks are not colluding with IOCs to flout the laws of the country.
Enoh said that the committee would take a critical look at the submissions made by the banks to come to terms with the true position of oil and gas exports proceeds processes.
A document submitted to the committee showed that one of the bank operates three domiciliary export proceed accounts for EniGroup, six accounts for Chevron Group and two for Shell Group.
The document also shows that Nigerian Agip Oil Company recorded a total export inflow valued at $15,372, 882,703.36 within the period while Chevron Group recorded a total inflow valued at $44,020,596,289.99. Shell group made a total inflow valued at $3,516,237,425.79 giving total of $62,909,716,417 billion.